Saturday, 27 March 2010

Deacon's House

Whilst we didn't need lunch, having had an ample Continental breakfast, though it was a bit strange owing to the B&B being run by Asians and the breakfast room by a young woman from Eastern Europe. I often turn to drinking tea when I think the coffee might not be to my liking. Unlike with coffee, I have little or no opinion about how tea should taste. Turns out, however, even I know that the water has to be boiling to make tea; I gave up after half a cup of warm, dirty water.

Anyhow, it was time for a sit-down and something wet so we headed into this interesting little close off the Royal Mile, Brodie's Close, to Deacon's Cafe.

I wasn't that impressed with their scones (Bill liked them fine), but at least the tea was at least drinkable. This was formerly the shop of a man named William Brodie, a Scottish cabinet-maker. You'll have heard of him in a sideways fashion, as he is the character on which Robert Louis Stevenson based his story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The room itself, with thick walls and the stone behind the kitchen, was interesting.

While Bill was placing our order, I was looking around and spotted this wooden chest next to a drafty window. I decided to snoop and opened the chest.

Sure enough, there was a human skull - or a facsimile - inside; served me right for letting my curiosity win.

The whole idea of a close fascinates me, just as did the courtyards in New Orleans, both being enclosed spaces whose street entrance is often rather mysterious. For that matter, huge amounts of inner city space in Europe is enclosed behind wide doors, elegant in style but often dirty and painted with graffiti. Don't let that fool you; what's behind is often magic.

On the subject of closes in Edinburgh, however, another that I was quite interested to see on my first visit, having worked plague cases in the U.S., was Mary King's close. There is much in Edinburgh that screams tourist trap and Mary King's close is among that. This history does seem to ring true, not that I'm an authority.

If the whole plague thing interests you, perhaps you would like to read a fictionalised account of the village Eyam (pronounced EEM), in Derbyshire. Year of Wonders is not a happy story, but unlike some that I refuse to re-read (The Lovely Bones being one), I do occasionally pick up Brooks and relive that time.

1 comment:

James said...

The skull in the trunk gave me a nice Sunday morning chuckle,thank you!